As the weather continues to heat up, so does the housing market—which means if you’re a real estate or mortgage professional, you’re gearing up for a busy season of helping clients buy, sell and finance homes. The challenge of serving the needs of your clients while continuing to market and grow your pipeline can be overwhelming, but we’ve got some tips that can help you “Light Your Business On Fire.”

Nick Russo is a highly successful loan officer in Virginia Beach who has been in the business for over 10 years.  When asked about the secrets to his success, he talks about his family as his motivation and the satisfaction that comes with helping people achieve the American Dream, especially those who could not have easily purchased a home without having someone to guide them through the process. In addition, Nick says he has a few guidelines that have shaped his success, and these strategies can be applied by any sales person to help increase production and help manage your time.

Rule #1: Set Realistic Expectations with the Customer

Nick says, “At pre-approval, I immediately let my clients know that the mortgage process can be pretty tough, and it’s become ever-compliant, so we are going to ask a lot of them,” Nick said. “I also let them know that it might seem a little intrusive, but our team is not going to ask for any documents or information that we don’t absolutely need from them to keep the process moving forward.”

Why is this important? Setting expectations with your customer at the beginning of a transaction or experience shows them that you’re being honest and upfront, and it can also save a relationship if an issue does arrive. When a customer knows you’re doing what’s in their best interest, they’ll be more understanding when they see you’re being transparent, rather than making false promises.

Rule #2: Communicate Clearly, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone!  

Nick says. “When the contract is signed, I call the customer right away. Sending an email without calling is not an option for me.  A phone call sets the standard of proactive communication rather than just sending them an arbitrary email. I’m a big believer in picking up the phone, even if it’s just to let them know I sent an email. A five-minute phone call can save 20 minutes of back and forth emailing or texting.”

Why is this important? Emails can seem impersonal during any sales process, and no one wants to feel like they’re just a number. As a salesperson, it’s important to make your customer feel like you’re there for them and that they are a priority. It’s also a great way to build a relationship.

Rule #3: Make time for LIFE/Create a balance

Nick says, “Set aside time for your family—no matter how busy you are with work. I’m a creature of habit, so I stick to the same routine each day, and part of that routine is helping my wife get the kids ready for school in the morning and turning off my phone at 8:30 pm. My agents and customers know I’m working hard for them, and they also know if they text me late at night, they’ll get a response from me first thing in the morning. I think every salesperson needs time away from their phone.”

Why is this important? As a salesperson, there’s no clocking in and out, and the work never ends but you need to make time for family and friends and take time for yourself to re-energize your mind and body. Having set rules for yourself allows you to feel good about your work and play, rather than feeling guilty.   

Rule #4 Make Daily List

Nick says, “Every morning I create a list and “block” the tasks that don’t need to be done immediately by adding them to my to-do list. Then, I “tackle” the tasks that are a priority, and cross them off my list. At the end of the day, I can turn off my mind knowing that there’s nothing that wasn’t addressed that day.

Why is this important? Organizing your tasks and prioritizing can greatly reduce your stress level and help you manage your time more efficiently. Everyone has their own system but finding a system that works for you can change your entire business for the better.

Rule #5 Find the time to grow your business

Nick says, “You need to do something that is proactive in getting new business. After all, you could have all the business in the world this month—but if you don’t do something to gain new business, you’ll find yourself unemployed next month. I do things like sending handwritten letters, thank you cards or even just a message of positivity to someone who crosses my mind. Having a good attitude and sharing kind words with someone can really make an impact. If you aren’t bringing positivity and happiness to people, what’s the point if your day?”

Why is this important? Nick says it best: “Because if we don’t go through every day with a good attitude, with constant laughs and positivity, and leave people happier than then they were before, then what’s the point of the day?”


Nick Russo (NMLS# 119202) is a Loan Officer with Towne Mortgage (NMLS# 91904) in Virginia Beach and can be reached over the phone at 757-241-0858 or via email at [email protected].